Factcheck: Luton’s efficient homes

Luton often appears in lists compiled by PR companies hoping for a bit of news attention. Their methodology can often be highly suspect, giving entirely false representations of the town.

I recently came across two rather different perspectives on the efficiency of Luton’s homes. This survey had Luton at number five, as one of the best places in the country for efficient homes, ahead of dozens of supposedly greener and wealthier towns.

But then this county-wide report names multiple areas of Luton where home efficiency is low, and where residents are paying over the odds for their energy. According to this report, 65% of Luton’s homes were rated D to G.

So which is right?

The facts are easy to find if you know where to look. There’s an open database of all Energy Performance Certificates in England and Wales, so you can see for yourself how Luton is doing.

Of the 72,895 certificates publicly available, around 36% score C or above. That’s the government target, so anything below a C needs work – and that’s the majority of Luton’s homes.

To get to net zero, we’ll have to do better than that, and improve all of Luton’s housing towards an A or B rating. This will be a long-term project. Just 44 homes in Luton currently score an A for energy efficiency.

In terms of where Luton sits nationally, this ranking from Compare the Market has Luton at 242 out of 305, and its figures look about right.

Better homes are going to be an important part of Luton’s story over the coming decades – and rightly so. We have everything to gain from making these improvements. A highly efficient home has low bills, and is comfortable all year round – as well as being better for the environment.

Don’t all of Luton’s residents deserve an A-rated home?

(Header photo by Monika/Flickr)

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Published by Jeremy Williams

Jeremy is an author and activist based in Luton. He writes serious books for adults, less serious books for children. His blog, The Earthbound Report, has been recognised as the best green blog in the UK by Vuelio and the UK Blog Awards.

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